Minnie Driver: Men ‘cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level’

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Last week, Matt Damon gave one of the most tone-deaf and offensive interviews I think I’ve ever read from a mainstream celebrity. Matt had any number of sh-tty takes on sexual predators, serial sexual harassers and the #MeToo movement. Considering he considers Casey and Ben Affleck as two of his closest friends, well… he thought he was being clever by defending them without saying their names. He was not clever. Matt’s ex Minnie Driver had some sh-t to say on Twitter, as did Alyssa Milano – I covered that yesterday. Interestingly, Minnie felt so strongly about Matt’s comments that she went to the Guardian to trash him even further. Good for her. Some highlights from her Guardian piece:

Why she’s speaking up: “I felt I desperately needed to say something. I’ve realised that most men, good men, the men that I love, there is a cut-off in their ability to understand. They simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level. I honestly think that until we get on the same page, you can’t tell a woman about their abuse. A man cannot do that. No one can. It is so individual and so personal, it’s galling when a powerful man steps up and starts dictating the terms, whether he intends it or not.”

The audacity of Matt’s comments on Louis CK: “I don’t understand why Matt would defend Louis CK. It seems to me that he thinks that because he didn’t rape somebody – so far as we know – that what he did do wasn’t as bad. That’s a problem. If good men like Matt Damon are thinking like that then we’re in a lot of f–king trouble. We need good intelligent men to say this is all bad across the board, condemn it all and start again.”

She doesn’t want men to create a hierarchy of abuse or victimhood: “I felt that what Matt Damon was saying was an Orwellian idea, we are all equal except that some us are more equal than others. Put abuse in there … that all abuse is equal but some is worse. There is no hierarchy of abuse – that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if woman has a penis exposed to her that she didn’t want or ask for … you cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other. And it certainly can’t be prescribed by a man. The idea of tone deafness is the idea there [is] no equivalency. How about: it’s all f–king wrong and it’s all bad, and until you start seeing it under one umbrella it’s not your job to compartmentalise or judge what is worse and what is not. Let women do the speaking up right now. The time right now is for men just to listen and not have an opinion about it for once.”

Every woman has a #MeToo story: “There is not a woman I know, myself included, who has not experienced verbal abuse and sexual epithets their whole f–king life, right up to being manhandled and having my career threatened several times by men I wouldn’t sleep with.”

Minnie says that men just need to learn to support women & listen to women: “In the same stereotypical way that we see women being supportive of men in their endeavors. I feel that’s what women need of men in this moment. They need men to lean on and not question. Men can rally and they can support, but I don’t think it’s appropriate, per se, for men to have an opinion about how women should be metabolising abuse. Ever.”

[From The Guardian]

The thing is, I’ve noticed that this sort of “creating a hierarchy of abuse and abuse victims” has permeated throughout the conversations many people are having, even on news programs. Cable news anchors will say something about a woman being a victim but “it’s not AS bad as some of the stories.” Like the Olympics of victimhood. My point is that Matt’s not alone in thinking that way, but it still deserves to be called out. Minnie is right about everything – it’s not for men to dictate or determine HOW women define their abuse or how they understand it, and it’s pathetic for Matt to tell victims of sexual harassment or groping that their pain and confusion isn’t important.

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47 Responses to “Minnie Driver: Men ‘cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level’”

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  1. Tiffany says:

    Minnie is still being a better person than me because ‘good man’ and ‘Matt Damon’ will never go together.

    • Slowsnow says:

      My gut reaction too.

      • Tiffany says:

        And Alexander Payne has to he sitting somewhere stewing right now.

        This film already looks like a hard sell and your lead ( who is bombing left and right) is doing this.

    • Kaiser says:

      I love how classy she is though – she’s not attacking Damon personally whatsoever.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Lol my thoughts exactly. He was already on my s*itlist after the Effie Brown debacle and then he was permanently canceled when he actively caped for Casey Affleck. All his current comments only solidify for me what a garbage person he is.

      • Nicole says:


      • Tiffany says:

        And why is it so difficult to say when asked, ‘The entire situation is horrible, I believe the women who came forward and we as a society have to do better in the world’.

        Why is that difficult, oh, I know why because this idiot thinks he words are so profound they need to be heard. His PR person needs to quit.

    • noway says:

      As opposed to you she actually knows him!!!

    • KiddVicious says:

      She had to be careful on what she said about him. If she slammed him the naysayers out there would say she’s still bitter because he dumped her in such a public way. It would have negated everything she said. She took the high road to get her point across.

      • Jayna says:

        He has said he broke up with her weeks before the Oprah show. Minnie’s own sister said in Cosmo that they were broken up before the Oprah show. I think she said a week to ten days.

        Minnie may not have appreciated him announcing it on Oprah because there was still the Oscars to go to, but she allowed the narrative that that was the first time she had heard of their breakup to gain traction, when it wasn’t true.

  2. MI6 says:

    “creating a hierarchy of abuse and abuse victims”
    You create a hierarchy when you minimize or discount anyone’s experience, including those of men. They suffer abuse as well.
    Matt Damon is a tool, but this is categorically and irrevocably unfair.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      This comment is a lame attempt at willfully misinterpreting what she said.

    • Jess says:

      That was my initial reaction because both men and women are victims of abuse (and some women can be abusers too), but in re-reading it I think the point she’s trying to make is that women – as a whole – are viewed differently then men. Women in general are still viewed as objects by men, who still control almost all of the power. That’s why I liked this article by Rebecca Traister so much: https://www.thecut.com/2017/12/rebecca-traister-this-moment-isnt-just-about-sex.html

    • Samantha says:

      You’re right, of course. But men in *general* don’t understand it. Women, even without personal experience, in general can understand it ( many women have severely problematic views, but they can still understand and empathize). Male victims should not be disregarded, at all. But when you hear someone like Damon talk, it’s quite clear that he has learnt in life that “rape is bad”, but he doesn’t REALLY empathize. It’s an idea that is so detached from him, so outside of him, that he can’t bring real understanding and empathy into it. There ARE men who do understand, even without their own experiences, but they are far and in between. So in general, men do need to take the back seat on this one.

    • Kitten says:

      Male victims are by and large the victims of other men. That’s kind of the point here: men are the perpetrators regardless of the victim’s gender.

  3. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    I believe that this maxim sums up why sexual abuse of ALL kinds is a problem:

    “What we allow will continue. What continues will escalate.”

  4. SilverUnicorn says:

    “The thing is, I’ve noticed that this sort of “creating a hierarchy of abuse and abuse victims” has permeated throughout the conversations many people are having, even on news programs. Cable news anchors will say something about a woman being a victim but “it’s not AS bad as some of the stories.” Like the Olympics of victimhood.”


    I had a lawyer PMing me on Twitter about this yesterday, saying they need to make the difference. Yes, true. But we are not all living in a giant court of law, nor are we all lawyers.
    I will continue to consider all abuse/harrassment of any kind as equally bad.

  5. AssViolator says:

    Thank you, Minnie! You rock.

    • SJhere says:

      I am now even more a fan of Minnie Driver! I’ve always known she is talented and very beautiful, and enjoyed many of her films/performances.
      I agree with her 110%. Well said, Minnie.

    • Pandy says:

      Yes, she really put it out there in a very understandable way. She’s great.

  6. Slowsnow says:

    Thing is, there are two instances for this conversation: the law and the emotional relation with the facts. The law differentiates because there are different degrees of offense ( my fellow celebitches who are lawyers can certainly speak in a more accurate manner than me). On an emotional and societal level the problem is different: one should never be afraid to walk the streets, go to work or refuse work because of harrassment. Damon is hiding behind the law so as not to acknowledge that many of us go work uneasy, terrified, angry, unfocused or choose not to go to work at all because of harassment. So he is choosing to emotionally disengage himself. And not be an ally to women and all victims of abuse in general.

  7. Seraphina says:

    I tried to explain to a male friend and coworker what it’s like, being a woman who was stalked when younger and had to go to court and he threatened my life. I’m also a female who has been touched inappropriately once when working in a very public and political arena. And the bottom line is that She is so right. Men will never get it because they can’t. There are few men who will be able to understand. And those men acknlowdge it and listen. And my male friend and coworker didn’t get it. He agreed on Weinstein but couldn’t understand why these women didn’t come out before. And to be honest, it scares me that these men can’t understand why it took so long to be vocal. The disconnect scares me because that means they don’t get it. Men who have daughters. Men who have sisters and wives.

    • Sherry says:

      I am ashamed of myself for having to admit this, but I equate it to the Black Lives Matter movement. I am a blond-haired, blue-eyed white woman. When BLM came into prominence, I took note, but was not really involved. Then I started seeing “All Lives Matter” popping up all over my Facebook feed and I didn’t say anything. In fact, I kind of nodded my head and said, “Yeah, all lives matter.” Like these men, I didn’t get it.

      Now, after seeing so many men attempt to excuse and explain away sexual harassment, assault and rape as though they have a right to do that, I get it. I get the anger. I get the rage.

      I am sorry for all of those times I did not stand up and say to my white friends, “You don’t have a right to have an opinion on this, because it’s not your reality.”

      As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” I will do better from now on.

  8. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Round of applause for Minnie. She stated the whole ridiculous idea of abuse hierarchy perfectly.

  9. Mich says:

    I’ve absolutely noticed that men don’t get the sheer volume of abuse and how it impacts women on a daily basis. They parse the stories that come out like they happened in a vacuum.

  10. Jay says:

    Love it, Minnie. Go, girl.

    I’ve never been a huge fan simply because she was a bit before my time and I just never watched much of anything she was in, and she keeps a low profile otherwise but Minnie Driver has a fan in me today. Good for her for speaking out. This is what’s needed: when people say dumb shit, the folks in their circle that the person will actually listen to need to speak up and explain why what the person said was gross. Good for Minnie for doing just that!

  11. adastraperaspera says:

    So true! This weekend, in a discussion about this issue, my brother-in-law interjected defensively and said, “it is just a miniscule percentage of men who do this…” We all just looked at him blankly. Later, I said to my partner that if we had started going around the room to every woman there, asking each one to mention instances of abuse/harassment in her life, we would still be there! A huge part of this problem is that a large majority of men are absolutely blinded by their own privilege and do not see/do not want to see what is going on 24/7 for women and girls.

  12. Suki says:

    I don’t really agree with this statement, or any blanket statement.

    Men are as much victims of this system in many ways. Men are challenged with violence and aggression from other men. I see this all the time on public transport. That doesn’t negate the very specific forms of violence and abuse that women are privy to but men and the abuse that happens to them also must be part of the conversation.

    Many men DO understand but simply feel powerless as well.

    • eto says:

      Of course men are also victims of patriarchy, but that system was ultimately built to subjugate women.

    • Slowsnow says:

      Feminism is or should be intersectional and is here to create a society based on equality which includes men (men who want to be stay at home dads, who do not want to conform to patriarchal molds etc.). But first we need to create an equality that isn’t there and puts the feminine mind and the feminine body bellow men’s, with less rights and no voice. We’ll get to those good men too who are allies and who are also bullied. That’s the point. There are many fights (let’s not forget sexual discrimination based on homo or trans phobia for instance, race discrimination etc.). There are many many many fights. And they are all conducive to a better, more inclusive society. But we can’t always use the same arguments for each fight. Everything has its own specificity.

  13. Ally says:

    What men (too many men) like Matt Damon don’t seem to get at all is that the conversation isn’t about which abusers and assaulters can become respectable again and have their (male entitlement despite their actions) power restored to them.

    *** The conversation is about, how do we make workplaces professional, safe, respectful and inclusive going forward. ***

    Among other things, and it’s not by keeping the same gender/race mix across companies and the decision-making hierarchy as in the past. As an added benefit, we’ll get a more interesting work product when it’s not the same narrow demographic group defining the terms.

    Seriously, his whole commentary is basically: ‘how quickly can we get things back to the way they used to be, cause that really worked for me.’

  14. Neelyo says:

    Off topic but I always loved the Halston red gown she wore to the Oscars after he dumped her so rudely. She looked stunning.
    Ok, back on topic. Go Minnie!

  15. Mee says:

    I read that article. Holy fuck!! The amount of shit he says is unbelievable. Head buried in the sand still claiming ‘no one knew about HW’. Defending C.K. for admitting it, ignoring the 12 years he spent denying it and having his manager call and threaten his victims. And the gall to say he would only believe his friends, not a colleague. This mother fucker is a producer right? What kind of work environments is he creating on sets? And it goes on and on. I fully expect him to give an interview this week explaining to Black people the degrees of racism and how they should react to it. He’s done.

  16. Ally says:

    Matt Damon’s words are awful, as is the thinking they reveal.

    Then there’s his actions.

    Hugging on Harvey Weinstein years after he knew what the latter had done at least to Paltrow and Winslet. (See the photo on CB’s earlier article.)

    Using his producing clout to rehabilitate Casey Affleck’s deservedly in-the-crapper image. Wasting a Kenneth Lonergan script on that creep.

    Speaking of which, I’m curious how the Academy Awards will handle Casey Affleck. I hope they change up the entire format to avoid having him present a female acting award. Otherwise I hope he gets booed.

  17. reverie says:

    It’s scary because guys tend to want to compartmentalize sexual abuse according to what they deem is “worse” and “less worse.” I don’t know why they do that. I understand that some occurrences are worse than others (hello! not a woman on earth who doesn’t know this from first hand experience) but why the need to philosophize and compartmentalize it? This is EXACTLY why there are these grey areas of what constitutes consent and what constitutes an attack or force in their eyes. Its scary.

    • LAR says:

      Not disagreeing with you, but I find myself doing this too – not about the experiences of others, but about my own. When the metoo hashtag came out, I was conflicted about it and didn’t participate. The point was to demonstrate the frequency and volume of harassment and assault, and, like all other woman, I’ve been harassed and have been concerned about my own safety. But I have also been overwhelmingly lucky. I’ve never been molested or assaulted and the harassment hasn’t significantly impacted me (it’s mostly been the catcall variety rather than something that affects my livelihood or social sphere). I had a hard time putting the hashtag on when I know of the horrible things that have happened to friends and loved ones. I fully support them but participating felt like tagging along with something that I hadn’t “earned” in the light of the trauma others had experienced. Perhaps this was the wrong response – I don’t know.

      • reverie says:

        Not the wrong response at all! You’re right in the sense that we as woman compartmentalize it as well. I think it’s because no one wants to be seen as the crazy, hysterical chick. It’s kind of bred into us. It’s similar to how some women like to point out attractive women to their spouses because they like how it sounds to say they are secure and chill and not prone to jealousy etc. It’s all about how we want to be perceived. I don’t know why pointing out attractive people to your partner indicates maturity and security and Im not sure how comparing our experiences to worse experiences equates to silence. If anything it just shows that as women, we get by on a daily diet of harassment/abuse, so we don’t feel we meet any criteria unless we’re attacked in an alley by a big scary stranger.

        Clearly, some experiences are worse than others, that goes without saying. But overall, there’s a bad current out there and its all on the same spectrum. And as much as the #metoo made a lot of women feel the way you just described, the idea isn’t to feel wrong or slighted or emotionally distraught. The idea is to say hey, something’s not right here and let’s fix it, lets attend to these grey area in people’s heads.

  18. Dog Obsessed Girl says:

    Remember when Whoopi Goldberg described Roman Polanski’s rape as “It wasn’t Rape rape.”?
    I’m heartsick. I’m mad. I feel defeated. I feel like yelling, “Shut your fickety-f^€+ing mouths, all y’all ‘Matt Damons’!”

  19. IMUCU says:

    I am kind of confused & conflicted about creating a heirarchy. I have done that with myself for years in regards to my own familial dysfunction and abuse. For example, I wasn’t regularly hit, but imagining myself in another’s shoes, it seems like a child who was hit regularly could potentially be a lot worse off in various ways. Not to say that a child who wasn’t hit at all, but abused, say verbally only, wouldn’t face significant adversity too because of their experience, it would just be different. I’ve never necessarily thought of it in terms of verbal abuse<(verbal abuse+physical abuse)<(verbal abuse+physical abuse+sexual abuse), but is this wrong to consider?

    Any way that one person "metabolizes" abuse will vary from person to person because of a person's emotional makeup & "resilience" (for example children who are more "resilient" will typically handle the effects of their abusive childhoods better in the long run– I'm sorry I don't have a specific citation for this, but it's taught in developmental psych courses).

    So, as I'm writing this, I'm thinking we are more concerned with how a person "metabolizes" their abuse, not necessarily the type of abuse, because all abuse, no matter what type, is bad? Thus, the heirarchy of abuse is left to the law?

    Although I would much rather be patted on the bottom than raped, and while both actions are bad and unacceptable, I feel like being raped would be much more devastating to me….I don't want to diminish anyone's experiences at all, I'm just trying to understand the arguements against heirarchy. I also might not understand what is meant by creating a heirarchy…anyone abusing their power in any way deserves to be handled in an appropriate way. Is the development of a heirarchy to determine what is the most appropriate way to handle an abuser? And then we have to consider who is determing what is deemed "appropriate" punishment?

    I'm getting a bit off topic. I'm sorry if I come off naive or ignorant. I'm still processing all of this and am open to different ideas and opinions. Hopefully I don't offend anyone!

    Thanks for reading!